At its 2019 I/O event, Google has finally announced the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, a more affordable midrange variant of its Pixel 3.
Past rumors and leaks have already revealed almost everything there is to know about the new smartphones, but now that they're official, the difference between them and their more expensive predecessors is now as clear as day.
Pixel 3a vs. Pixel 3
The most obvious differences are in the hardware. Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 3 is faster with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, while the Pixel 3a only has a Snapdragon 670. The Pixel 3 XL is also the only one among the family to have a 1,440p resolution. RAM is the same across the board, which is 4 GB.
Display and battery sizes vary among them, and the same goes for other core features. For starters, the Pixel 3a line doesn't have wireless charging, Pixel Visual Core, or free backup of images in original quality to Google Photos.
It also doesn't have an IP rating, though it's likely to have some level of water resistance. In other words, it probably just doesn't have a certification, similar to what OnePlus is doing with the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro.
In addition, it's made of polycarbonate instead of glass, making the pricier Pixels look more premium with a better build quality in contrast. Speaking of which, it uses Dragontrail glass, not Corning's Gorilla glass, which are typically found on flagships including the Pixel 3 and are considered to be better. Also, it only has one front-facing camera, while the more expensive Pixels have two.
Despite all that, the Pixel 3a promises the same camera with the same impressive features, most notably the lauded low-light technology Night Sight. It's also coming with other benefits expected only from Google phones, particularly the Titan security chip and at least three years' worth of timely software updates. Call Screen is also in the mix, which has recently started expanding to other phones from Motorola and Nokia.
On top of that, it has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, something that many will likely consider a huge advantage. The best part is the Pixel 3a is half the price of its more premium counterpart, starting at $399 as opposed to $799. For the record, the Pixel 3a XL starts at $479, while the Pixel 3 XL at $899.
The Bottom Line
With the Pixel 3a lineup, Google is making Pixel features more accessible. It may not have everything that the Pixel 3 has to offer, but it does have some of the biggest perks that made the Pixel brand appealing, such as its impressive camera with Night Sight, Call Screen, and timely updates.